Barbara Sprunt | KNKX

Barbara Sprunt

Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington desk, where she reports and produces breaking news and feature political content. She formerly produced the NPR Politics Podcast and got her start in radio at as an intern on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered and Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania native.

President-elect Joe Biden will choose South Carolina's Jaime Harrison to head the Democratic National Committee, a source close to the decision, who was not authorized to speak ahead of the formal announcement, told NPR's Scott Detrow.

Harrison is a former South Carolina Democratic Party chair, and his selection highlights the influence of another South Carolina Democrat, Rep. James Clyburn, the majority whip in the U.S. House.

As a sixth Republican came forward on the House floor to announce support for impeaching President Trump, the president issued a statement calling for calm amid FBI warnings of demonstrations leading up to Inauguration Day.

Update at 5 p.m. ET: Special coverage of this event has ended. Follow more updates on NPR.org.

The House of Representatives passed an article of impeachment against President Trump on Wednesday, making him the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice.

In an hourlong Instagram Live video Tuesday night, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., described her personal experience last week when a violent mob of pro-Trump extremists breached the Capitol and forced lawmakers into hiding.

"I had a pretty traumatizing event happen to me," she described. "And I do not know if I can even disclose the full details of that event, due to security concerns. But I can tell you that I had a very close encounter where I thought I was going to die."

Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif., shared a harrowing account of her experience at the U.S. Capitol last week, as she fled a violent mob of pro-Trump extremists who breached the building.

"I was 1 of 12 trapped in the House gallery. I heard the shot being fired. I saw the smoke from the tear gas having been deployed," she recounted during a House rules committee meeting Tuesday.

Updated 11:35 p.m. ET

Vice President Pence says he will not invoke the 25th Amendment to declare President Trump incapable of executing his duties.

Updated 5:45 p.m. ET

With nine days left before President Trump's term comes to an end, the House of Representatives is forging ahead with plans to try to remove the president from office over his role in his supporters' violent attack last week on the U.S. Capitol.

Updated on Monday at 2:15 p.m. ET

Howard Liebengood, a 15-year veteran of the U.S. Capitol Police, died Saturday off duty, according to the force. His cause of death was suicide, an attorney for the family said on Monday.

Updated at 9:41 p.m. ET

Pennsylvania's Pat Toomey is the second Republican U.S. senator to call for President Trump's resignation in the wake of Wednesday's attack by Trump supporters on the U.S. Capitol, as House Democrats developed their plans to impeach the president.

Toomey on Sunday joined his Senate colleague Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, in calling for Trump to resign.

Updated at 5:00 p.m. ET

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer have called for President Trump to be removed from office via the 25th Amendment.

"I join the Senate Democratic leader in calling on the vice president to remove this president by immediately invoking the 25th Amendment," Pelosi said at a news conference Thursday. "If the vice president and Cabinet do not act, the Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment."

As pro-Trump extremists clash with police and breach the U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser has ordered a citywide curfew starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

"During the hours of the curfew, no person, other than persons designated by the Mayor, shall walk, bike, run, loiter, stand, or motor by car or other mode of transport upon any street, alley, park, or other public place within the District," her statement reads.

The curfew will last until 6 a.m. on Thursday.

It does not apply to essential workers, including media with outlet-issued credentials.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., delivered blistering remarks Wednesday afternoon against President Trump and his Republican colleagues who are objecting to the Electoral College results, saying of Congress: "We cannot simply declare ourselves a national board of elections on steroids."

"We'll either hasten down a poisonous path where only the winners of an election actually accept the results or show we can still muster the patriotic courage that our forebears showed, not only in victory, but in defeat," he said.

Democrat Raphael Warnock made history in one of Georgia's two Senate runoffs on Tuesday when he became the first Black person to be elected to the Senate from the state and the first Black Democratic senator from the South.

"Georgia certainly made me proud last night," Warnock told NPR's Noel King Wednesday morning. "They decided to send a kid who grew up in public housing to the United States Senate to represent the concerns of ordinary people."

With 2020 in the rearview mirror, the 117th Congress is now getting under way as members take their oaths of office on Capitol Hill Sunday.

For many, the process will be familiar territory. But for most of the incoming lawmakers, it's the beginning of a brand new chapter.

Here's a look at that group of lawmakers and what their first few days will look like:

Pandemic looms large

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said Wednesday he plans to object during the Electoral College certification process when Congress convenes next week, a move that ensures a delay in the final step to mark President-elect Joe Biden's election victory.

"I cannot vote to certify the electoral college results on January 6 without raising the fact that some states, particularly Pennsylvania, failed to follow their own state election laws," Hawley said in a statement Wednesday morning.

Updated at 3:55 p.m. ET

With millions of Americans waiting for desperately needed economic aid, a massive relief package remains in limbo as President Trump weighs whether to sign it into law.

Updated at 3:48 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden publicly received his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Monday as the death toll from the disease nears 320,000 in the United States.

Rolling up his sleeve at Christiana Hospital in Newark, Del., Biden told nurse practitioner Tabe Mase, "I'm ready!" and thanked her for her work with COVID-19 patients. "We owe you big, we really do," Biden said.

Updated at 11:52 p.m. ET

After months of partisan squabbling, congressional leaders have reached agreement on a nearly $900 billion coronavirus relief package.

"At long last, we have the bipartisan breakthrough the country has needed," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on the Senate floor Sunday evening.

"As our citizens continue battling the coronavirus this holiday season, they will not be fighting alone," he added.

The U.S. Department of Energy has finalized two new rules that offer a win to President Trump in his personal crusade to roll back water efficiency standards on appliances like showerheads.

Trump frequently has bemoaned what he views as insufficient water pressure with newer appliances.

Updated at 9:37 a.m. ET

On Monday, 538 electors in all 50 states and the District of Columbia will cast their votes for president, marking a key next step for Joe Biden as he gets closer to officially becoming the 46th president of the United States.

With lawmakers facing a mounting year-end to-do list, a deal on a new coronavirus relief package continues to be elusive for Congress.

But a key House Democrat on Sunday seemed to indicate some flexibility on one of his party's priorities.

"[Democrats] are not going to get everything we want," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said on CNN's Inside Politics. "We think state and local [aid] is important. And if we can get that, we want to get it. But we want to get aid out to the people who are really, really struggling and are at grave risk."

President-elect Joe Biden said on Thursday he has chosen Susan Rice to lead the White House Domestic Policy Council, a position that does not require confirmation by the Senate.

Rice, 56, is a veteran of the past two Democratic administrations, serving on the National Security Council during the Clinton administration and as ambassador to the United Nations and national security adviser under former President Barack Obama.

Updated 6:30 p.m. ET

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an effort to overturn the results of the presidential election in Pennsylvania, signaling the high court would not go along with President Trump's unprecedented efforts to win another term despite a decisive defeat in the popular vote and Electoral College.

The lawsuit was brought by Republican Rep. Mike Kelly, who argued a 2019 state law authorizing universal mail-in voting is unconstitutional and that all ballots cast by mail in the general election in Pennsylvania should be thrown out.

The day before Thanksgiving offered a jarring contrast between President-elect Joe Biden and President Trump, who has yet to concede he lost the election.

Biden on Wednesday delivered a Thanksgiving address in Wilmington, Del., calling on Americans to unite in protecting their communities as they celebrate the holiday this year amid the raging coronavirus pandemic.

Updated at 3:56 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden has named six leaders of his foreign policy and national security teams, showing a continued push for historic firsts in his administration.

He's also set to name former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as his treasury secretary, NPR's Franco Ordoñez reports. Yellen, 74, was the first-ever female Fed chair and would be the first-ever female head of the U.S. Treasury.

As President-elect Joe Biden continues to assemble his advisers and Cabinet, one name being floated could add another historic first to his administration.

Politico reported Thursday that dozens of House Democrats sent a letter to Biden's transition team endorsing New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland for interior secretary.

Haaland, 59, is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna. In 2018, she and Rep. Sharice Davids, D-Kan., became the first two Native American women elected to Congress.

Updated at 11:23 a.m. ET

Following yet another legal setback for the Trump campaign, Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania called on President Trump to accept the outcome of the Nov. 3 election and move forward with the transition process in order to protect his presidential legacy.

Updated at 12:13 p.m. ET

President Trump's campaign announced Wednesday morning it is filing a petition to formally ask election authorities to conduct a recount in two Wisconsin counties. President-elect Joe Biden won the state by a little more than 20,000 votes.

Efforts to protect U.S. elections from disinformation are proceeding amid reports that the head of the agency in the Department of Homeland Security that oversees election security expects to be fired soon by the White House.

Christopher Krebs, director of DHS' Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, spearheaded an agency campaign to counter rumors about voter fraud and election irregularities.

Pope Francis, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, offered his congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden during a call Thursday morning.

According to a statement from the Biden-Harris transition team, the pair discussed some policy areas in which Biden is likely to break from President Trump.

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